I'm thrilled to announce a new series with Ellora's Cave titled PIRATES AT HEART. Book two SMUGGLER'S BLUES brings back Captain Brett Logan Jr. and his lovely bride Kate. Book three, SAILOR'S KNOT introduces the new generation of Logan pirates, Brett's sons--Marcus and Nathaniel. Here's a sneak peek at book two. Hope you enjoy the unedited excerpt of my work-in-progress! Stay tuned for covers and release dates!
From the shine on the hardwood floor, Logan could tell his boot strikes would’ve echoed through the renovated warehouse had it been empty, but the place was far from empty. A gleaming hardwood bar ran the length of the far wall, patrons crammed around it waving whatever payment they had available at the overworked bartenders. Polished brass fixtures hung from regular intervals along the walls which also bore a blood red brocade accented with a wooden chair rail and wainscoting. At least Logan believe it was called wainscoting, but what the hell did he know about interior decorating?
As for the entertainment, it was comprised of showgirls strutting around in elaborate costumes—a topic about which Captain Brett Logan Jr was well verse, at least before he’d met Kate. They wore bejeweled bikinis with ruffled bras and peacock-like feathers hung from their plump backsides. Which made sense, the speakeasy was called The Tailfeather. One slinked by him, offering a private dance, but he declined as he fiddled with his wedding band.
The live band struck up an old Disco number from last millennium and the girls began to shimmy and gyrate in ways that were impossible to ignore. He smiled to himself, letting his gaze roam over the jiggling mounds of flesh for just a second, then turned away. He might be married, but he wasn’t dead from the waist down.
“Captain Logan,” a voice boomed to his left drawing his attention. A corpulent man who was sweating bullets through his velvet waistcoat held out a pudgy, sausage-fingered hand.
Logan took it and firmly pumped it twice before letting go. “You must be Mr. Boudreaux. Pleasure to meet you.”
“Pleasure’s all mine.” The man’s eyes held a wolfish gleam, one Logan was not entirely comfortable with.
“And please, call me Big Daddy. Everyone does.”
Big Daddy’s hand came to rest on Logan’s shoulder, a toothy grin wrinkled the fat man’s veined cheeks.
Removing the offending hand, Logan shook his head. “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll stick with Mr. Boudreaux.”
“Daddy issues?” The man laughed and snorted.
“You could say that.”
“You can call me whatever you like, just don’t call me late for dinner.”
Logan forced a smile on his face.
“Shall we adjourn to my private booth?”
Leaning over to Jacques, Logan spoke in his first mate’s ear. “If I’m not back in an hour, come rescue me.”
“Oui, mon capitaine. “ Jacques threw back a shot.
Logan followed the fat man. “Mr Boudreaux, how is it that you run such an obvious nightclub in the RSA without getting raided and shut down?”
“Captain, I run six such clubs. All it takes is a lot of friends and a lot of bribes.”
Well that made sense. Logan had bought himself out of a scrape or two, but this…this club offered every manner of excess and debauchery. It flew in the face of all the Reformers supposedly held sacred. The body was a temple, sobriety, piety and chastity being their own reward. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Big Daddy led the way upstairs to a loft space that held a small bar manned by a bartender who stood at the ready, an enormous horseshoe shaped booth and was staffed by five of the most stunning showgirls Logan had ever seen. The redhead in the group fluttered her fingers at him, a flirtatious hello. Logan dipped his head, trying to be polite.
“I see you like my private stock.” Big Daddy huffed, scooting in to the booth.
“To be honest, it’s all a bit rich for my blood.” Logan took a seat on the opposite end of the horseshoe.
“Is it now? I must’ve gotten some bad information. I’ve heard Captain Loco Logan is quite the wild man.”
The flirty showgirl set a double shot of bourbon in front of Logan and some sort of pink mixed drink in front of Big Daddy. She stood next to Logan, bouncing to the strains of music that filtered up from downstairs.
“It’s true, I used to be, but I’m just an old married man now.”
“Hell, live a little son.” Big Daddy motioned for the girl to get closer to Logan which she hurried to do. “Just cuz you’re on a diet don’t mean you can’t sample the menu.”
“I don’t think that’s how the saying goes.”
The man’s snorting laughter alone made Logan feel dirty, but the girl’s hand skittering up his thigh made him feel even worse. How old was she? Maybe eighteen or nineteen at best?
He caught her hand, shaking his head. “Young lady, I am old enough to be your father.”
“This is Mabel. She has daddy issues too so it’s all right, Captain. What happens at The Tailfeather—”
“Would get me kicked out of my own house and rightfully so.” Logan interrupted. “What’s say we get down to business, Mr. Boudreaux.”
“What ever you’d like, Captain.” With a flick of his pasty hand, Big Daddy dismissed the girl. “Just trying to show you a good time.”
“I get that, but like I said, I’m just on old married man these days.” Logan took a pull from his glass. The smooth bourbon warmed his chest.
“Gotcha.” Big Daddy took a sip of his drink. “So here’s what’s on the table.”
The man went on to detail the complicated supply chain from his distillery in Republic occupied Gulfland to the seven clubs he owned in the RSA. All were located along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Tampa. He’d had a steady source for two years until last month when said importer ran afoul of a Reformer AK47.
“The work isn’t without its risks,” Big Daddy drawled, “which is why I’m willing to pay good money.”
“What’s good money to you?”
“Twenty thousand Republic credits a month.”
“Oh you’ll have to do a lot more for me than run moonshine for that kind of money, Captain. Twenty-five.”
“Thirty-five and I’ll make the drops to each of your clubs. That way you don’t have to move the stuff over land.”
Big Daddy mulled it over. “Fine. Thirty-five…if my shipments are on time and in tact.”
“Don’t worry about that. I run a tight crew. They’ll be no barrels that come up missing.”
“I’ve heard that about you. I’ve also heard you go where other men fear to tread. You come highly recommended.”
“I get the job done.”
“Then we have an agreement.” Big Daddy held out his hand. Logan shook it brusquely, releasing as quickly as he could.
“I’ll need first month’s payment up front.”
“Mabel, bring Daddy his briefcase from the safe and another round of drinks. We have some celebrating to do.”
A half-hour later Logan descended the stairs, a brand new duffel bag stuffed with Republic credits in tow.
Jacques greeted him with a sly smile. “Is that what I think it is?”
“It is…and then some. I got the motherfucker for thirty-five.”
His grin broadening, Jacques crowed, “Laissez les bons temps roulez.”
“Yeah, except let’s get the hell out of here and to a real bar.” Logan settled his black Stetson on his head and sauntered toward the door.
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